The Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Restore Order in Borno State promised to give a reward of up to N290 million for anybody who can give information that will lead to the arrest of Imam Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, and 18 others.
Four of the men, described as “Shurra Committee,” have a reward of N25 million each for information leading to their arrest. They are: Habibu Yusuf (aka Asalafi); Khalid Albarnawai; Momodu Bama; and Mohammed Zangina.
The 14 other men, described as “Boko Haram Commanders,” have a bounty of N10m each placed on their heads.
A statement signed by Lieutenant Colonel Sagir, the spokesman of the special task force in Borno State said Shekau and his allies are wanted in connection with terrorist activities particularly in the North East Zone of the country.
“They are wanted in connection with activities that led to the killings, bombings and assassination of some civilians, religious leaders, traditional rulers, businessmen, politicians, civil servants and security personnel amongst others. They are also wanted for arson and destruction of properties worth of millions of naira,” the statement said.
It was added that anyone with information that will lead to the arrest of any of the suspects will have the stipulated reward.
“Anybody with relevant information should contact the following GSM numbers 08064174066, 07085464012, 08154429345,” the statement said. Informants’ identities will be highly protected.
There has lately been a deep division in the government of President Goodluck Jonathan about Boko Haram. While his spokesman, Reuben Abati, had said consistently that the government was using “back room channels” to negotiate with the militants, President Jonathan himself said in his Media Chat last week that no negotiations of any sort are going on.
A recent statement by the JTF indicates a new government hard line, perhaps stemming from efforts to generate negotiations which may see renewed militant attacks on soft targets in the country. Recently, the group asked the leader of the Congress for Political Change, General Muhammadu Buhari, to mediate talks with the government, but Buhari turned down the offer.
The JTF’s strategy of giving monetary reward to informants adds a new perspective to the imbroglio between the federal government of Nigeria and the Boko Haram insurgents.
Observers say the decision has also foreclose the much taunted dialogue option which many people believe remains the most viable platform that will end the crisis.
The crisis has so far claimed the lives of thousands of people and crippled the economic fortunes of most of the northeastern states.
Shekau took over the mantle of leadership of the sect from Mallam Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the group who was allegedly killed by the police at the height of the crisis in 2009.
Full Text of the statement:
1. Abubakar Shekau N50 Million
2. Habibu Yusuf (a.k.a Asalafi) N25 Million
3. Khalid Albarnawai N25 Million
4. Momodu Bama N25 Million
5. Mohammed Zangina N25 Million
BOKO HARAM COMMANDERS
6. Abu Saad N10 Million
7. Abba Kaka N10 Million
8. Abdulmalik Bama N10 Million
9. Umar Fulata N10 Million
10. Alhaji Mustapha (Massa) Ibrahim N10 Million
11. Abubakar Suleiman-Habu (a.k.a Khalid) N10 Million
12. Hassan Jazair N10 Million
13. Ali Jalingo N10 Million
14. Alhaji Musa Modu N10 Million
15. Bashir Aketa N10 Million
16. Abba Goroma N10 Million
17. Ibrahim Bashir N10 Million
18. Abubakar Zakariya N10 Million
19. Tukur Ahmed Mohammed N10 Million